Violence prevention experts in Nottinghamshire have unveiled a new Youth Charter outlining how young people at risk of crime and violence would like to be supported to help them succeed.
The Youth Charter, which has been co-designed by young people, was unveiled at Parliament last week by Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry, Natalie Baker-Swift, Interim Head of the Nottingham City and Nottinghamshire Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) and VRU Community Ambassador Tranai Todd.
The trio travelled to London earlier this week to attend the National Youth Agency’s Youth Work Summit – a Parliamentary Seminar held at Westminster as part of a week of activities to promote National Youth Work Week 2021.
The new charter gives young people a stronger voice on the issues that impact them and sets out their expectations around the delivery of youth provision across the City and County.
It also invites youth workers and organisations that work with young people to pledge their commitment to a set of standards designed by young people themselves.
The goal is for all projects providing diversionary youth work for children and young people in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire to pledge their commitment to the Youth Charter and its quality standards.
Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry said: “We know that a trusted, positive relationship can make such a difference in a young person’s life and that youth workers are well placed to develop such relationships. Good youth work can encourage children and young people to engage in positive activities, help them in developing skills and knowledge which will empower them and divert them from engaging in criminality and being subjected to exploitation.
“I want to ensure that I commission organisations that provide the very best quality provision to support children and young people in Nottinghamshire.
“On Monday, I was proud to launch Our Youth Charter at Parliament, which has been co-produced with young people, like Tranai, who want to be respected, empowered, informed and developed. Later this year, we will be launching our Youth Work Strategy which will support youth work organisations in achieving those commitments to our young people.”
Natalie Baker-Swift, Interim Head of the VRU, added: “We are incredibly fortunate to have a thriving community and voluntary youth work sector in Nottinghamshire, particularly in the City, who have a common goal of supporting children and young people to achieve positive outcomes.
“The youth workers have a wealth of knowledge and experience, and often live in the communities in which they work - most of all they have credibility and trust with young people. Through our Youth Work Programme, which builds on the commitments in the Youth Charter, we are working with the sector to harness that knowledge and experience.
“We will give youth workers the opportunity to access training pathways, including accredited youth work qualifications and we will implement a Quality Endorsement Framework which recognises and celebrates high quality practice, supports emerging organisations and promotes a culture of learning and growth.
“Young people deserve safe, high quality experiences from youth workers who are given equitable access to training and networks of support - by focussing system change on youth work we can empower children and young people to thrive and reduce the causes of serious violence.”
The charter was designed by community ambassadors, project staff and mentors, youth parliament members and participants of youth projects across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.
It outlines how young people want to be respected, empowered, informed and developed through youth-focussed work and sets a benchmark to reassure young people, their families and communities that youth work is part of a wider network of high-quality support provision.
VRU Community Ambassador Tranai Todd said: “I believe that our approach to youth work should be proactive, passionate and professional, using the new Youth Charter to ensure that the services we provide collectively are what our young people need.”
During the seminar, the team took part in a Panel with Abbee McLatchie, Director of Youth Work, Keith Fraser (Chair, Youth Justice Board), Kim McGuiness (Northumbria PCC) to discuss the NYA’s ‘Between the Lines’ Report and the responses to serious violence and exploitation of children and young people – who have become even more vulnerable during the pandemic.
As part of National Youth Work Week 2021, the VRU has also been celebrating the successful youth work underway in the City and County on its VRU social media platforms.
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